Best psychological thrillers of the 2010s

Sometimes the most terrifying movies aren’t the ones that scare audiences away of a killer with a huge knife, but the ones that make them fear what’s inside each of them. While a horror movie and its bloody, paranormal scenes can thrill endlessly in a theater seat, the terrors of a psychological thriller take longer to come in … and much longer to fade. These are fears that stay with you.

One special thing about these movies is that there is no sure-fire recipe for success. As a matter of fact, The woman at the window is one of those cases: Despite a well-known cast and a strong storyline, it did not receive very good reviews from the public. Meanwhile, movies like Thesilenceofthelambs and Fight club were resounding successes that are still going strong today.

While real crime and crime films are hugely popular, there is something about these dark stories that feels relatable and unpredictable, which keeps audiences hooked from start to finish. The main characters in psychological thrillers often use their intelligence rather than physical strength, but their enemies often come from within their minds. Additionally, they typically face moral dilemmas that sometimes challenge boundaries, creating a chaotic and intense environment that plays with viewers’ emotional states. Have you ever watched a movie that left you in awe of what was real and what wasn’t? If you’ve had that kind of experience then you’ve seen a great thriller. And if you haven’t seen one yet, check out this list of the best psychological thrillers of the 2010s.

Related: 10 Undersung Thrillers From The 1990s To Watch Again

ten Creation (2010)


The complexity of this Cristopher Nolan’s Creation is as it is considered to be one of the most difficult films of recent years. Even today, there are still theories that attempt to explain its end. Throughout the film we follow the story of Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a thief specializing in the art of mining: he steals precious secrets from the depths of people’s unconscious while they sleep. . This skill made him very popular in the world of commercial espionage, but also turned him into an international fugitive who was forced to leave everything behind. But one day, Cobb is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to return to his old life, a final mission in which he’s asked to do the exact opposite of what he’s always done: implant an idea into Robert Fischer Jr’s subconscious. (Cillian Murphy). Nonetheless, his plan becomes complicated as there is someone who seems to predict his every move, and Cobb must figure it out before it’s too late.

Join DiCaprio and Murphy in Creation is a cast of celebrities including Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine.

9 Prisoners (2013)


Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is a carpenter and man of faith, who experiences a turning point in his life when his 6-year-old daughter and her friend are kidnapped while playing outside. Desperate, he turns to the police, but quickly loses hope when the case officer (Jake Gyllenhaal) is forced to release the lone suspect, Alex Jones (Paul Dano) for lack of evidence. Dover decides to embark on a personal quest against the clock to uncover the truth and save the girls, kidnapping Jones and taking justice into his own hands. But how far is he willing to go to find out where his daughter is?

Prisoners was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Incendies) and the cast was completed by Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo.

8 The Island of the Shutters (2010)

shutter island

Shutter island is a film in which absolutely nothing is what it seems. Based on the novel of the same name by Denis Lehane, this film directed by Martin Scorsese stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo and has been nominated for and won several awards.

The film follows the story of Agent Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) who come to Shutter Island to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a dangerous murderer from an impenetrable room in the Ashecliffe Psychiatric Hospital, a deranged felony correctional facility run by the sinister Dr. John Cawley (Kingsley). This duo will soon discover that the place holds many disturbing secrets and that the island hides something even more dangerous than the patients.

Related: Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movies, Ranked

seven Black Swan (2010)

black Swan

This Darren Aronofsky film is set in the world of dance and stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a brilliant ballerina who is part of a New York ballet company and dedicates her entire life to dance. The pressure from his bossy mother (Barbara Hershey), the rivalry with his partner Lily (Mila Kunis) for the lead role in the new production of “Swan Lake” and the demands of the harsh director (Vincent Cassel) will increase rapidly as the the opening day is approaching. These tensions cause Nina nervous exhaustion and mental confusion with episodes that make her unable to distinguish fact from fiction.

For Black Swan Portman had to endure a specific diet and intense daily workouts.

6 Girl Party (2014)

missing girl

This film delves into the story of Nick (Ben Affleck), a former journalist married to Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), whose marriage has long failed. Trying to improve and renew their relationship, the couple decide to open a restaurant, but the idea does not succeed. However, on their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy mysteriously disappears. Eventually, all suspicion of responsibility fell on Nick, as the version of a happy couple he offered investigators began to quickly falter. Facing the media, he appears impassive, defending his innocence, but the first impression may not be the real one.

Missing girl was the film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s book, directed by David Fincher and starring a star cast including Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry and Carrie Coon.

5 Nocturnal Animals (2016)

nocturnal animals

Nocturnal animals was written and directed by Tom Ford, and it’s a romantic thriller of great intimacy and tremendous tension that explores topics such as love and revenge. We follow the story of Susan (Amy Adams), who lives immersed in a big lie, having all the privileges but being unhappy with a husband who does not make her happy (Armie Hammer). One day, Susan receives in the mail a novel written by her ex-husband Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal), with whom she has had no contact for years. conscience of the woman and forces her to reassess a relationship she feared losing, as the story unveils a truth that will define their future at the same time.

4 Burn (2018)


This South Korean film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for the Palme d’Or. Directed by Lee Chang-dong and based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, Burning follows the life story of Lee Jong-su (Ah-In Yoo), a young delivery boy aspiring to be a writer who stumbles upon Shin Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jeon), an eccentric girl who was his neighbor as a child. She asks him to take care of her cat during her trip to Africa. During the trip, the young woman meets Ben (Steven Yeun), an enigmatic socialite with an unusual and dangerous hobby.

3 Get Out (2017)

Get out

Directed by black comedian Jordan Peele, Get out was an extremely well-received movie that follows the story of Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young black man who faces a delicate encounter: visiting the parents of Rose (Allison Williams), his white girlfriend. The meeting takes place with partial normality, as Rose’s parents are too complacent with Chris. Naturally, Chris assumes this is due to their nervousness about their daughter’s interracial relationship, although as the hours pass a series of increasingly disturbing findings lead him to unmask a horrific and ruthless truth.

Get out was named best scripted film of the 21st century by the WGA.

Related: 10 Best Psychological Thrillers, Ranked

2 Joker (2019)


Joker was one of the most anticipated films of 2019. Directed and produced by Todd Phillips and based on characters from DC Comics, it follows the story of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a man whose sole motivation in life is making people laugh, and he lives in Gotham with his mother. Arthur plays the clown in small concerts, but his mental issues lead people to think of him as a monster. His biggest dream is to perform as a comedian in front of an audience, although a series of tragic events will intensify his anger at a society that ignores him.

The cast is completed by actors such as Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Zazie Beetz and Brett Cullen. Joaquin Phoenix had to prepare heavily for the role in Jokerand he’s also revealed he’s open for a sequel, but he’s not sure if that will actually happen.

1 You were never really there (2017)

you were never really there

To close that list, there’s another Joaquin Phoenix-directed film, this time directed by Lynne Ramsay. In You ain’t never really been there he plays Joe, a former navy and war veteran who spends his time trying to save sexually exploited women. One day, he is asked to rescue the daughter of a senator, who has been kidnapped. Joe embarks on this mission which ends up awakening the beast in him and making revenge his main motivation.

The film is based on Jonathan Ames’ novel of the same name, and the cast includes actors such as Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola and John Doman.

James Gunn is jealous of his own special Guardians of the Galaxy vacation script

It’s strange for a writer to be jealous of their own work, but with the Guardians Holiday Special delayed, that’s exactly how James Gunn feels.

Read more

About the Author

Comments are closed.